CAT tool overview

People who translate very often have to translate very similar passages. This is a characteristic feature of non-literary translations. Documents such as

  • car documents,
  • notarial deeds,
  • birth, marriage or death certificates,
  • a certificate of no criminal record,
  • school certificates and diplomas,

and many others, are based on a template in which only some data is changed. For example, when translating user manuals and installation instructions, many of these documents are based on similar diagrams and, for example, warnings or warranty information are even identical. This is where CAT tools are needed.

Translation support tools

What are CAT tools? This abbreviation stands for Computer Assisted Translation and indicates that these are programs that support translation. By using them you can avoid constantly rewriting the same fragments.

Advantages of computer translation

It is worth mentioning that translations using CAT tools are not the same as machine translations. Machine translations are performed from A to Z by a designed program, an example of such translations are automatic translations of foreign websites by Google. In the case of translations using CAT tools, the translator still has to work on them and the tools only support him in his work.

The advantages of CAT programs are:

  • the possibility of accelerating work,
  • the possibility of avoiding too high translation costs,
  • supporting the work of the translator through text control,
  • Minimised risk of confusion with long, monotonous technical translations.

CAT tools

How do CAT programs work?

The CAT tools may vary slightly depending on which program you have chosen. As a rule, however, their principle is based on highlighting or highlighting sentences that are similar to those already translated. These programs start with a rich library of typical sentences, such as those appearing on birth certificates, and the library of these sentences expands as you work on the program. It can therefore be said that the programme is learning in a certain sense.

A translator who works on a text may choose a translation proposed by the translation software, or may modify it freely, according to the current need.

CAT tool overview

There are many CAT tools on the market that support translation. We will introduce you to some of the most popular programs of this type.


memoQ was launched in 2006 by the Hungarian company Kilgray Translation Technologies. At the turn of 2012 and 2013 it was one of the fastest growing tools of this type. The memoQ program is designed for devices operating on Microsoft Windows. It is designed for both amateur and professional use. If you want to find out about its quality and possibilities, you can take advantage of the free 30-day usage period - just download the program from the manufacturer's website. memoQ is available in several different versions, which differ in terms of possibilities and price.


Memsource is a product of the Czech company Memsource Cloud founded in 2010 by David Cenk. The program was launched in 2011. Its operation is based on the cloud principle. The program supports all popular file formats and is still in development. The following versions are available: Personal, Academic, Developer, Freelancer edition, Team, Team start, Ultimate edition, which differ in their capabilities. In basic versions Memsource is free of charge, but if you want to buy additional options, you need to prepare to pay a monthly subscription.


The full name of Trados is SDL Trados Studio, a program created by Trados GmbH, which was founded in 1984 in Germany. The Trados programme itself has been in operation since 1992, when its first edition was released. Trados GmbH was acquired by SDL in 2005. At the end of the 1990s, this program became the market leader in CAT tools.

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